Loss-making Trinity House store to close

PUBLISHED: 09:50 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:25 06 March 2019

Trinity House department store in Axminster whose closure has been announced. Picture Chris Carson

Trinity House department store in Axminster whose closure has been announced. Picture Chris Carson

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Axminster’s biggest town centre shop falls victim to the nation’s changing buying habits

Axminster’s biggest town centre shop is to close – with the loss of 19 jobs.

Trinity House department store is expected to cease trading towards the end of the year – probably in September.

Its owners – Goulds of Dorchester - say it is the victim of the nation’s changing shopping habits which have seen many people switch to on-line buying.

In statement they told The Herald: “As a result of an ongoing review the directors of Goulds (Dorchester) Ltd have announced their decision to cease trading at Trinity House.

“It is expected that the store will close at the end of September 2019, but the actual closing date is yet to be confirmed.

“The store was acquired on leasehold terms in November 2015 along with the premises known as TH2, which housed linens and housewares, until its replacement in 2017 by Costa Coffee.

“Despite having made a considerable investment in the business in an effort to make the Axminster store viable, current trading conditions, coupled with the continuing economic pressures on the department store sector, dictate that the business can no longer sustain an unprofitable branch store in Axminster.

“The company realise that this closure will be a major blow to the town. But even with sympathetic support from the local landlords it has been impossible to stem losses. In common with so many other retailers we are suffering the effects of on-line competition and a change in shopping habits.

“We are deeply sorry at having to take this action not least because our colleagues have done their utmost to help make the store successful and our regular customers will feel the disappointment of losing the only department store in town.”

Axminster county and district councillor Ian Hall said the closure would be a blow to the local economy.

He said: “The fact that Goulds feel they have no option but to close their store in Axminster is symptomatic of a general trend away from the high street shopping habit. It further underlines the importance of those who care passionately about our communities to promote strong, resilient town centres, which continue to attract visitors.

“The loss of this store, with its imposing frontage on Trinity Square, will be keenly felt in Axminster, where it will leave a visible gap in the street scene and dent our economy. We must forge ahead with even more urgency to restructure our community to meet current trends and future-proof our town against any further erosion of the traditional retail centre.

“My Conservative colleagues and I are supporting a move at EDDC Cabinet on Wednesday (March 6) to boost regeneration of Axminster town centre through a potential Central Government ‘Future High Streets Fund’ grant application. If ratified by Cabinet, I was hoping that positive drives like this would give the current retailers in Axminster some extra confidence for the future.

“I’m sure we all wish the Trinity House employees every success in gaining other employment opportunities in the town”.

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